Proving the "women's health" excuse is a dangerous myth:
From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies. No other state saw a comparable increase.
In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state.
It might seem obvious to say Texas is big, but you really can't grasp the size until you try to drive your car from one point to another. I live between the Triangle and the Triad here in NC, and I can drive to the beach and back, or Asheville and back, in about 7 hours. It doesn't work like that in Texas, where it takes 8-10 hours just to get somewhere. And now, many women must travel that distance just to go to a clinic, which also means paying for 1-2 nights in a hotel. And make no mistake, several Republicans in the NC Legislature are looking to Texas for guidance on how to make that happen here:
The report comes just as public health advocates are raising questions about Texas’s ability to prepare for the Zika virus, which is transmitted by a common species of mosquito and has been linked to severe birth defects. The World Health Organization has advised women in areas of local transmission to delay pregnancy.
Texas is one of several southern states where health officials say there is a risk of a local outbreak. But about half the state lacks ready access to OB-GYN care, making it difficult for women to obtain contraception or for pregnant women to confirm the health of their babies. Just this month, Texas’s health department drew fire for allocating $1.6m of the $18m the state budgets for low-income women’s family planning to an anti-abortion group that does not provide basic health services.
“There is a need to redouble efforts to prevent maternal deaths and improve maternity care for the 4 million US women giving birth each year,” the authors said.